A Glance of Texas Tech against Texas
We are just four days away from Texas Tech’s Big 12 opener against rival Texas, and it will mark the 70th time these two teams have played one another. Both teams come in at 1-0 with wins over Houston Baptist and UTEP. However, in this Texas Tech vs. Texas preview, the differences start when you look at the statistics from those games.
Offensive and Defensive Rankings
Tech escaped by the skin of their teeth, beating the huskies 35-33 while Texas dominated UTEP, winning by 59-3. Texas comes into the game boasting the number one offense in the nation and seventh in total defense. Tech sits not that far behind sitting at number four in total offense but defensively, Tech is ranked 51st in the country. This can be attributed to the horrible pass defense on display against Houston Baptist allowing quarterback Bailey Zappe to throw for nearly 600 yards and four touchdowns.
Poor pass defense cannot happen against the Longhorns, who feature one of the nation’s best quarterbacks in Sam Ehlinger. Ehlinger threw for 426 yards and five touchdowns against UTEP. Ehlinger is in his third year as the starting QB for the Longhorns and has brought the program back to relevancy. He is sneaky athletic while still possessing one of the best arms in the country. Against Tech last year, Ehlinger passed for 348 yards and two touchdowns.
Texas Tech Football Weapons
Tech will need to depend on its strong run game and quick passes to slow the game down and keep the Longhorn offense on the sideline. Despite being in the headlines this week for an incident dating back to June, Sophomore running back, SaRodorick Thompson expects to play on Saturday. He had an excellent game last week against HBU, and we look forward to him stepping up his game against Texas.
Tech also features one of the best QB/WR duos in the nation with Alan Bowman and TJ Vasher. Vasher was held mostly in check by HBU and will need to have a big game for the Red Raiders to have a chance. Standing at 6’6,” he has been labeled the best red-zone receiver in the Big 12 by head coach Matt Wells. Vasher will need to be more involved in this game. As a result, I expect the offense to take some shots down the field early.
Keys to Victory
The key to beating Texas last year was to get up early. In four of their five losses, the opponent scored first. Texas was then forced to play catch up the whole game and couldn’t establish the game’s flow. Texas was stopped on a fourth and goal inside the five-yard line in the LSU game and gave LSU the ball. Joe Burrow marched the Tigers down the field and scored on their opening possession. This act put Texas down early, and it lasted the entire time. In the Oklahoma game, the Sooners scored first and controlled the whole match’s tempo. This forced Ehlinger to duel Jalen Hurts in an all-time classic game.
Texas Tech Defense
Defensively if Tech wants any chance, they will need to stop the passing game first and foremost. Tech’s pass defense was horrible against HBU. The corners and safety’s need to do a better job at communicating coverages and recognizing plays. Several times miscommunication in the secondary led to long touchdown passes from HBU and tackling in the secondary. Several missed tackles could’ve changed how the dynamic of the game played out.
With the Longhorns coming to town, Tech has its hands full in figuring out how to get the win. From what I saw at the game and watching the film, I can confidently say that Tech has a solid chance to keep it close. I do not think that Tech will win this football game due to the horrible defense. But if Bowman, Vasher, Thompson, and that defense play perfect, then there’s a chance that Tech could shock the world. Final score prediction 42-35 Longhorns.
Story by Ryan Scott, Sports Journalist for Campus Live